Friday, August 26, 2005

What's wrong with this picture?

This is from the US site of Reliance India Call which is a VOIP based calling service if you want to call anywhere in India from the US.

One hates to ridicule a service that is quite all right, but it appears that the media/communications/advertizing people are not really well up on high-school physics.

First prize to whoever gets it right first.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

New messenger of Kitsch

Yahoo Messenger's new special garam Indian beta version puts the chaat-masala back in chatting. The new audibles section gives you the Mumbai street-smart you've always wanted but were afraid to try out.

It is perhaps a fitting tribute from the creative people at Yahoo to the millions of Yahoo users in India. Neville Taraporewalla, Country GM, Yahoo! India talks to the IOA and says:

We have put our revenue streams right within our Indian operations through multiple business units. Now, we are working towards localisation of content and features. For example, the recent Beta launch of the Yahoo! India Messenger in India has seen Indian localised audibles in the Hindi language. This will be followed by Indian avatars and some other efforts towards localising our communication products like Mail & Messenger into different languages.

My favourite desi-dialogue is the classic Sholay reference:

Yeh chat mujhse kar le thakuuuur!
An obvious miss on Yahoo! India's part:

Shammi Kapoor flailing his arms wildly in snowy Shimla as he tries to woo Saira Banu with the definitively swinging 60's track:

Yahoo! Chahe koi mujhe junglee kahe!

My childhood, alas, was lacking in the Bollywood experience since my parents were afraid to expose us to the "meri pant bhi sexy" subculture. We watched the movies that were raging when my parents were teenagers. As a result, a lot of the really cool bhai-type movies were censored off our viewing list till I went to college.

You, gentle reader, are therefore encouraged to send in your ideas of really cool filmy dialogues that would fit in well as Yahoo! audibles.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Return of Yellow Journalism

This one is from Manish at Sepia Mutiny.

Recall our recent outrage at what the Times of India has been publishing lately. And how it has taken comic turns in the form of unwarranted humour on the part of the hacks in Mumbai working for it.

Now the TOI imputes that Jason Alexander from Sienfeld was married to Britney Spears! Now any schoolgirl would let you know that Britney was actually married for 55 hours to Jason Allen Alexander whose sole claim to fame is getting drunk and hitching up with ditzy blonde popsters. Unlike the bald comedian pictured alongside.

Imagine a conversation if George Costanza had actually scored with Britney Spears

Jerry: So, a blonde...huh? Wow.
Kramer: Jerry. Blondes are the best you know. The best! Simply the best.
George: Myeah...
Jerry: Whaddya mean 'myeah'.
Kramer: Does she have blonde friends? Do pop-stars have groupies?
George: I dunno. She drives me crazy! Crazy!
Kramer: why? What happened?
Jerry: You've obviously got to make allowances for blondes.
Kramer:'s like golf. You handicap them.
Jerry: that's right. A Blonde handicap.
George: No you don't understand....she kept driving me NUTS all along in Vegas. NUTS.
Jerry: How?
George: Well, the way it panned out...was...ummm... She kept saying she wanted to get married every time she got drunk.
Jerry: Well. That's what women do when they are drunk. They want to get married.
Geogre: (pitiable expression)
Kramer + Jerry: No! You didn't!
Kramer: no no no no.
Jerry: So now she is driving you NUTS even in New York and you want your marriage annulled.
George: Are you kidding me? No! ofcourse not! How many times does a fat short bald man like me get to marry a blonde airhead?
Kramer: So there is no problem. is there?
George: NO. she wants the marriage anulled.
Jerry: Women! I guess she wanted what happened in Vegas to stay there, huh?

Friday, August 19, 2005

Tres Jolie

Xinhuanet reports that Angeline Jolie will be acting in a Paramount + Warners joint production of Beowulf, which you ignorant money-grubbing non-English-major fools should know is an

...Old English epic poem, which is thought to have been written in the eighth century, [that] chronicles the exploits of Beowulf, a Scandinavian hero who saves the Danes from the indomitable monster Grendel.

The movie is slated for release in 2007. But what makes it really newsworthy is the fact that Angelina Jolie will be playing momma to the indomitable monster Grendel. This, taken together with her previous role as Olympias, the multiply tattooed mother with the geographically misplaced fake Transylvanian accent in "Alexander the Great", bears witness to Jolie's complete sway over the "classical MILF" end of the casting market.

Friday, August 12, 2005

DEHLI chalo?

That's what I'll be saying soon enough. At least if Prof. K M L Misra et. al. have their way.

As reported in the Telegraph and in Instant Kaapi a group of historians from Agra Archaeological Society led by KML Misra former Head of History at Agra College are lobbying with the President of India to rename the capital city (and state) from Delhi to Dehli. He says
"For 800 years Delhi was called Dehli but the British couldn't manage the breathy sound of Hindi and the spelling of the city later came to reflect this."
Absolutely, you agree. Besides, he does not want to come across as a bad-guy.
"I don't want to injure the feelings of the British, indeed I hold them in high regard, but our government is mistaken to cling doggedly to this British mis-spelling of our capital," Mr Misra said.
But while Mr. Misra seeks to forgive and even mollify the British for this piece of colonial dyslexia, did he bother to ask people in Delhi how they felt about it? Moreover, what has archaeology got to do with it? Where, if you must ask, did they dig this idea up from? Or better still, is there nothing left to excavate around Agra that they felt it incumbent upon themselves to repair this damage? Is academic research in archaeology over in Agra?

If my friends and family in Delhi are anything to go by -- they don't dig this renaming at all. We've lived in Calcutta (before it was named Kolkata), in Bombay (while they were trying to change it to Mumbai) and I went to school in Chennai (after they changed the name from Madras) and I can assure you no one within the cities themselves gives a damn. Except for the taxpayers who fund the mammoth bureaucratic exercise of renaming every little name or title or letterhead that had the original name on it. But it does create a lot of activity for the guys who push this initiative and I am sure the Agra Archaeological Society is glowing with the international recognition that it has garnered from this.

If living in the Capital city has taught me anything, it is that Delhi-ites (or Dehli-ites, or Dilli-walas) will not be pushed around. And they are unlikely to let their country cousins from Agra take all the glory that comes with rechristening away. With any luck, in roughly a week's time, someone from Delhi University, or better still JNU will rise to the task, band with an impressive army of academics and send off a letter to the TOI and the President asking for a change of name to something older --- like Dilli, or perhaps Indraprastha (see Delhi's wiki). Professors armed with fellowships and think-tank memberships will sit with their local civil-service big-wig or small-time Member of Parliament over a cup of tea and present eloquent arguments as to why 'Dehli' would be a nod to a past that is hardly reflective of India's present.

Are we never going to get over our post-colonial disquietude? Changing a name from Delhi to Dehli will not undo it's tumultous history.

Taking things to their logical conclusion, by Misra's logic, we should probably look around for what the city was called before it was called Indraprastha ... right through, perhaps, to our hominid ancestors who had barely discovered speech. Maybe soon, we can all swell with pride, as we utter the grunts and screeches of that primitive tongue, for then we'll have claimed our true ancient heritage.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

On Yellow Journalism

Reuben Abraham from ZooStation writes in about the pathetic state of journalism in India, especially the TOI, long hailed as the benchmark of Indian news and features journalism. Read about it here.

Now there is talk of setting up a collaborative weblog to be an Indian media-watchdog. Do you think that Indian bloggers can make a difference?

Mediaah's recent debacle with the powers-that-be at the Old Lady of Bombay indicate that bloggers can make people wake-up and take notice. But I think there is a larger point to this activity viz. it will be a good place to generate the sort of editorial letters that no body writes to the newspapers any longer, some sort of lens with which to correct the often distorted perspective of the TOI. And it could prove to be entertaining to take on Big Media, as Jon Stewart has proved with The Daily Show that runs on a cable channel in the US.

In recent times, TOI published an article about Aishwarya Rai being slated to wrestle a 380 pound toothless trailer-crone over a mullethead. The article is supposed to have been lifted straight off a satirical article in The Spoof. Unfortunately though, the reporter was immune to the obvious irony and decided to peddle that to TOI's unwary readers. Sepia Mutiny has a hillarious article about the entire incident here.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

FOB it like it's hot

This one is via OgsandEnds.

With an attitude that recalls the aggressive attestation of Black identity in hip-hop culture, your timid FOB helpdesk guy is striking back by bear-hugging the very stereotype (see video here) that makes him a pariah in all parties except your Auntijie's Diwali party.

InAustin predicts that in the next twenty years, you'll see kids running around in leather chappals and polyester full-shirts with the top three buttons open exposing expanses of chest hair, shovelling aloo samosas by the dozen down their collective gullets and getting crunk on masala chai with extra milk. So bhaiyon, buck the trend and get a 'I Heart FOBs' tee for the lovely lovely ladies in your labs and your cubicle farms and get that FOB luv going.

Now, say OH-KAY!